Cardinals getting Molina, Beltran ready for World Baseball Classic
By Bryce Moore
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina throws to third base during the team's first full squad workout at spring training baseball, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) By Julio Cortez
By Dan Mueller
(BaseballStL) -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina could see time at first base in the next week as the club prepares to send him off to the World Baseball Classic.
Molina, who has five straight Gold Gloves behind the plate, has played 26 career games at first base including one start. But he could see time there for team Puerto Rico in the upcoming WBC and the Cardinals might try to get him exposure there before he leaves.
“I imagine they are going to want his bat in the lineup all the time so there’s a good chance you could see him at first,” said manager Mike Matheny. “We’ve toyed about throwing him out there a bit here and that’s still may be something you see before he heads out.”
Beltran started the first two Grapefruit League games over the weekend and was not in Monday’s lineup against the Houston Astros. Matheny said Beltran has not asked for any additional playing time before leaving with Molina to play for Puerto Rico.
“Just a normal program,” Matheny said. “He’s been around long enough he kind of tailors his workload to what he needs and I don’t think the classic is going to change that. He’s going to continue to do what his body is telling him it should do and right now he feels pretty good.”
Beltran is not on the travel roster for Tuesday’s game in Fort Myers but is scheduled to return to the lineup Wednesday in Port St. Lucie when the Cardinals play the Mets.
Relievers Mitchell Boggs and Fernando Salas will also be leaving to play in the WBC. Boggs will play for team USA while Salas will pitch for Mexico.